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The forest organic act of 1897 established the rationale and management authority for the first forest reserves in the United States. The act was in part a response to debates arising from the passage of the 1891 General Revisions Act, which repealed the 1873 Timber and Culture Act and included a rider granting the president of the United States power to set aside portions of the public domain for perpetuity as forest reserves. By failing to mandate authority for the management and protection of these lands, however, the 1891 act left as an open question the purpose of forest reserves in the United States. By the end of his term in 1893, President Benjamin Harrison had set aside approximately 13 million acres, intensifying the stakes ...

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